Well, I have officially been in Ireland for one month! It really doesn't feel like it at all; despite the waves of homesickness, time has really flown. So, I want to take today to recap what I've done and also to make sure I note the things I still want to do.
I have gone "hiking" in the Wicklow Mountains National Park. It was beautiful; the highlight for me was the Upper Lake area with the huge tree (I've added a picture of it) and the sensory garden. I have had a Guinness, a Bulmers Cider (pear and original), fish and chips (and lots more chips), banoffee, and lots of tea. I went to the Dublin Writers Museum, which was a bit of a bust, but still had some neat artifacts to look at. I toured the Georgian House Museum, a wonderful little house with a lot of history and some creepy dressed up mannequins. I've strolled through St. Stephen's Green which really is beautiful with the combination of tree covered paths, open grounds, fountains, ponds, swans, and statues (I've also added a picture of this). I have shopped on Grafton Street VERY successfully, and have crossed the Ha'Penny Bridge, toll free of course. I have joined, practiced with, and felt the pain of trampoline club- we'll see how tonight goes; I may be chewing ibuprofen! I have started and finished A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and I have just begun Ulysses. Finally, I have started classes at UCD and at three weeks in, I am 25% through the semester- time to get cracking on papers before I get visitors!
Despite all that I've done, there is still boat loads more I would like to do. I want to finish reading Ulysses- a big task at nearly 700 pages. I also want to drink some Jameson while I'm here, which might well be achieved when I go to the Jameson distillery- another item on my to-do list. I want to see the Guinness brewery as well. I need to kiss the blarney stone (though I'm not sure I necessarily need to be given the gift of gab). I'd love to go up to Belfast (possibly this Sunday) and maybe find some spots where the Kelley family is from. Also, there is apparently a trail for the Wicklow Mountains National Park that actually lets you hike to the top of the mountain. I bought a poncho, I might as well put it to good use! I want want want to find an Irish wool scarf in a small Irish country town, maybe when I go to Galway with my parents. I would also like to tour Trinity College to see the library and the Book of Kells, dating back to 900 AD- you know how I like old books! I'd like to be able to do a front and back flip on the trampoline, and I think learning how to land on my back will do wonders for getting over my fears from diving. I want also to visit the castle in Malahide, which my Polish acquaintance told me was the best one in Ireland. Despite it being the best, I would like also to visit a few other castles here, there's just so much history. I want, since I'm trying to finish his oeuvre (with the exception, of course, of Finnegan's Wake), to visit the James Joyce Museum. I think I would also like to go on a Vikings Splash tour since a couple of natives have told me that they're actually a lot of fun and the best tours to get on. Finally (unless I come up with more later), I want to explore Blackrock some more- there is a little tiny white house in the middle of a lake somewhere here that I'd love to find.
So that's it- my totally do-able to-do list of Ireland things. As much as I can't wait to be home and with everyone I love, I also can't wait to do all the things on this list and more! Cheers :)